The Samoyed is a spectacular working dog of ancient stock. Originally domesticated and used by Siberian nomads, the Samoyed has worked on all continents, including the Antarctic’s extreme climate. He has forged his way through the most inhospitable terrains and climates and has emerged as a beloved family pet.
With his roots in northern Siberia, the Samoyed is often pure white with glistening silver tips. Some Samoyed are cream and biscuit, but none are darker. His thick, lustrous coat and fetching smile can warm even the coldest heart and even the bed it sleeps in!
The Samoyed is an ancient nomadic herding dog from the icy Siberian hinterland. Named for the Samoyed people of Northern Russia, the Samoyed dog survived in the frigid wild by feasting on reindeer. The reindeer themselves were nomadic and roamed freely in search of valuable shrubbery. The Samoyed was assisted by the hardy Spitz dogs, who were not only seasoned herders, but were also fierce protectors against the Arctic predators.
Domestication of the Samoyed first began in medieval times when they were employed to hunt bears and to tow boats. The Samoyed’s gentle nature made him a valuable family member on especially cold nights. The Samoyed would be nestled inside the family’s hide tent to generate heat and to keep children warm in bed.
By the 1800’s the Samoyed had made his way to England and to a more gentile life. This breed’s pristine coat made him a favourite in the English aristocracy. One pure white Samoyed was deemed worthy of presentation to Queen Alexandria, whose love of the breed vaulted their popularity.
In the first decade of the twentieth century, the Samoyed was brought to America, likely by fur traders, but other experts claim that was there was a more romantic introduction to America in the way of a gift presented to US president Theodore Roosevelt by Russia’s Grand Duke Nicholas. Either way, the Samoyed’s fame and popularity exploded, but not from an American experience.
In 1908, Roald Amundsen chose Samoyeds for his sled-dogs on his expedition to the South Pole. The team, led by his Samoyed, Etah carried Amundsen safely to the South Pole. It was from this journey that the Samoyed gained the most fame and notoriety for their hearty constitutions. Since then, the Samoyed’s popularity has steadily grown throughout northern North America and around the world.
The Samoyed is a compact, muscular dog with outstanding endurance. He can combine the surefooted stride of a worker dog with agility and grace. The Samoyed’s coat is very thick with a soft, dense undercoat and a straight wiry outer coat which stands out straight.
The Samoyed’s head is wedge shaped and broad and his ears are erect, triangular and fur covered, both inside and out. The most noticeable feature on the Samoyed’s face is his mouth which is curled slightly upward giving the appearance of a gentle smile. This feature has been named the Samoyed Smile, and is one of this breed’s most delightful qualities.
The Samoyed’s tail is heavily fur covered and is carried high over the back and cascades over one side. The feet, legs and mane are also thickly covered in fur, with varying degrees of feathering.
The Samoyed is a gentle and playful breed. He will become very attached to your family, especially children and will charmingly try to herd them. The Samoyed’s ancestral links to the Spitz may help to explain his friendliness towards other dogs and pets. The Samoyed is always delighted to greet non-human guests, so he makes a trustworthy watchdog. However, intruders of any variety will face only licks and loving rubs so a protector he is not.
Inside, the Samoyed is calm and can wile away many docile hours until he becomes bored. This is to be avoided because the Samoyed is equally clever and will find mischievous ways to amuse himself. Outside, the Samoyed will enjoy vigorous play, but he can be a tad stubborn. Generally, the Samoyed’s keen desire to please his owner will trump his impishness thereby keeping him in good stead with your family.
Samoyed Exercise Info
The Samoyed needs daily exercise and while he won’t run you ragged, expect a five kilometre walk every day. The Samoyed’s endurance makes him a good jogging partner, but be aware that he does not tolerate heat well. The Samoyed loves pulling and herding games so the whole family can pitch-in to entertain this lively this breed. Try setting up a challenging obstacle course for your Samoyed. He will relish the challenge and will surprise you with his agility.
The Samoyed enjoys several hours outside in cold weather, but he should not be expected to live outside. His loyal instinct makes him yearn for his family so there are issues of separation anxiety if he is left alone. Be more cautious with leaving your Samoyed outside during summer months or if you live in a warm climate. The Samoyed is very heat sensitive and overheating and dehydration can easily occur during play.
Samoyed Grooming Info
The Samoyed is a white ball of fluff so there’s no denying the grooming demands. His coat will require daily brushing to be sure, but the spring blowing of the coat will be monumental. Be prepared for this task with a wide, firm brush and ample time. Don’t be alarmed if large clumps of fur leave your Samoyed with unsightly bald spots, this is to expected especially if you live in a warmer climate. You can expedite the shed and your Samoyed’s return to dignity by devoting several hours per day to brushing. Bathing your Samoyed is a seasonal event. Mercifully, your Samoyed should not seriously object to this procedure, but some tidbits of advice should be heeded.
To begin, it will take much water and time to soak the coat all the way to the skin. The coat is semi-water-resistant and water will initially bead and roll off the Samoyed’s back. Once wet, the coat will need small amounts of doggie shampoo – don’t over lather. Rinse with ample amounts of cool water. Next, the Samoyed’s coat will need to be dried with cool forced air. It is vital to ensure the fur is dry as unchecked dampness can lead to skin problems like hotspots and other fungal infections. Additionally, damp coats are prone to matting and the only cure then is shaving your Samoyed.
The tail and hind quarters of your Samoyed will need additional grooming between baths. Dense fur and the white colouration conspire to create a mess if you are not vigilant.
Samoyed Training Info
The Samoyed is a fun-loving dog, but he is particular about the type of fun he is willing to have. Typically, the Samoyed can be crate trained with relative ease, but other basic commands will need your perseverance. The issue is the Samoyed’s stubborn and wilful tendencies. But, if you are willing to capitalize on the Samoyed’s instinctual temperament, you will find greater success. For example, It will be best to train your Samoyed outdoors where you can incorporate herding games with training. Once your Samoyed understands the commands and their relation to the task, he is more likely to obey. Reward him amply with praise and an especially tasty treat.
Barking can be problematic unless addresses early. Your Samoyed will be quite vocal so begin curbing inappropriate barking early. And finally, if you are facing defeat on this front, don’t be unwilling to seek professional Samoyed trainers. It is far better to employ a professional trainer, than have an unruly, unmanageable dog.
Samoyed Health Info
Common health concerns for your Samoyed include; CHD, gastric torsion, cataracts, hypothyroidism, PRA, diabetes and hip dysphasia.
As mentioned above, the Samoyed has a low tolerance for heat so dehydration (and worse) can occur.
Samoyed Right Breed Info
The Samoyed is best suited for cool-climate, outdoorsy, active families. Hikers, joggers and backpackers will welcome this spirited breed’s endurance and his love of the wilderness. The Samoyed is a gentle dog so families need not worry about his temperament, although he will need obedience training. The elderly or the disabled may need to employ dog walkers as his exercise demands exceed yard play. Similarly, potential owners should not underestimate the grooming your Samoyed will demand, especially in spring.
On the whole, the Samoyed is a fantastic pet. He is a sweet-tempered soul with boundless love and energy to give to his family. When purchasing your Samoyed, resist the urge to purchase a dog inexpensively from a pet store or from an advertisement in a newspaper. You may unwittingly buy a mal-adjusted, sick, puppy mill dog. This is to be avoided at all costs.
More Information about the Samoyed Dog Breed